Pregnancy is a unique and powerful experience. A large number of emotional, physical and hormonal changes take place over an eight to nine month period. Towards the end of the pregnancy, the body has to adapt to carrying up to 20lb of baby, waters and placenta, which imposes physical strain on all organs and tissues.
There are three very important stages, which affect the mother’s health:
- Pregnancy and it’s physical discomforts
- The demands of labour
- Recovery of the mother after birth
Discomforts of pregnancy
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture. If the mother has existing back problems, or strains in her body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes and she may suffer more discomfort as a result.
The ligaments of the whole body relax during pregnancy due to the actions of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the head through the pelvis.
Unfortunately this softening affects the whole body and makes it more vulnerable to strain during pregnancy.
Postural changes may cause backache, neck ache, headaches, sciatica, aching legs and undue fatigue. Postural changes through the lower ribs and spine can impede the action of the diaphragm and ribs, which can make breathing difficult.
Osteopathy and Acupuncture are useful treatments for the strains, aches and pains occurring during pregnancy.
“I pulled my back at 34 weeks pregnant and was in agony. Acupuncture helped me really quickly to get back on my feet. I would recommend it (and Denise) to anyone.”
Preparation of labour and position of the baby
As labour is likely to be more difficult if the baby is not lying correctly, it is worth trying to help them to move into a better position. The baby generally settles in a head downward position and facing backward with his spine curled in the same direction as his mother’s spine. This puts the baby in the most advantageous position for passing through the birth canal during labour.
Self-Help tips to encourage the baby to lie correctly
- Try to keep as active as possible throughout the pregnancy.
- ‘Walk tall’, pushing your head upwards as if suspended by a string. Do not allow your lower back to slump into a hollow position.
- Sitting slouched in soft chairs encourages the baby to turn back to back position. Where possible, sit with your bottom well back into the chair and the lower back supported.
Recovering after birth for mother and baby
After giving birth, the body not only has to recover from the changes it made during pregnancy but also from the effects of delivery, all this whilst doing the very physically and mentally demanding job of caring for a new baby. The physical demands involved during such activities as carrying the car seat, nursing in poor positions, reaching over the cot, carrying the baby on one hip and changing a nappy, can place enormous strain on a back that has carried a baby through pregnancy.
Unresolved childbirth stresses in the mother can contribute to ongoing back problems, period problems, stress incontinence, constipation, headaches and more. Both Osteopathy and Acupuncture aim to help the mother return to normal after birth.
“After child birth I suffered with low back pain made worse by carrying and lifting. Denise gave me a combination of osteopathy and acupuncture and I am now pain free. I cannot recommend her treatment highly enough.”
If you would like to book an appointment with Denise please call or Orpington clinic: